Kimberly Thigpen left the banking world to open a business in the Douglas Block in Rocky Mount that sells handmade, all-natural soaps, lotions, scrubs and other beauty and health products.
The idea to start The Bath Place evolved from her coming up with a natural treatment to cure her husband’s skin condition. She found that shea butter worked well.
“He was still using regular soap from the store. It would dry his skin out. I began looking for ways to incorporate shea butter into everything we use for personal care,” she said.
It fascinated her that such a simple, natural butter could improve a condition that scientifically manufactured remedies could not.
She began to research oils, butters, salts, herbs and other ingredients found in nature. Creating products with them and discovering new combinations of oils and fragrances became a pastime.
She began to share her creations with family and friends, who encouraged her to open the business. The Douglas Block seemed like a great location.
“I looked at other places, but it was affordable,” she said. “I saw a great deal of opportunity here with the downtown revitalization Streetscape program. And then once I learned about the history of the block, I wanted to be a part of the revitalization.”
Before opening the business, she was a business analyst for RBC Bank.
“This is something completely different,” she said.
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: I create handcrafted soaps, lotions, whip cream body moisturizers, exfoliating scrubs, lip balms, soy candles. Everything is hand made with natural ingredients.
I use just a regular blender. I have a hot plate and make small batches, and then I also create room and linen spray for beds and sheets and you can use it as an air freshener too. I make milk baths, and I sell bath accessories like loofah, which exfoliates (the skin). It’s almost like a bath sponge but it is harder.
My products are my own brand, so its not part of a bigger company or anything like that. I purchase the raw ingredients, shea butter, and cocoa butter. Everything is made from scratch.
Q: How many employees do you have?
A: I don’t have any yet.
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Me and my husband, Donyell Thigpen. My daughter, Jasnique Clayton, also helps.
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: Our goal is to provide safer, healthier alternatives to mass-produced, chemical-laden products. We feel that people deserve affordable alternatives that they can purchase locally.
Q: What makes business unique?
A: That everything is hand made completely from scratch, with simple ingredients, stuff that you can pronounce.
Q: How has your business grown last few years?
A: It’s grown from being a completely online, part-time business in 2009 to having a retail location and a local presence. We opened on the Douglas Block in May of this year.
Q: What kind of growth do you expect in the coming years?
A: My goal is to have in the next three years a 40 percent increase in sales. And I want to continue to grow the online business. Also within the next five years, I want to get my products into some major retail shops.